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The Real Reason GTA 6 Isn't Launching On PC

Fans of the "Grand Theft Auto" series experienced some truly epic highs and lows last week, particularly when it came to PC players. Though catching the new trailer for "GTA 6" was unbelievably exciting for people who've waited years to see it, that excitement was almost immediately sucked out of the room by a press release from Rockstar Games that revealed more platform-specific details. PC gamers are unsure about when they can expect to play "GTA 6," as Rockstar has only discussed a 2025 release window for the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions of the new game. Going by previous Rockstar Games release strategies, PC gamers are assuming they won't have access to "GTA 6" until sometime in 2026, which is beyond disheartening for many gamers who've chosen PC as their preferred platform. Up to this point, Rockstar has not released an official statement regarding the lack of a PC release for "GTA 6." However, a former developer from Rockstar Games has shed some light on why the developer seems to have shut out PC players once again.

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Former Rockstar New England animator Mike York has a pretty good idea of Rockstar's thinking in this situation. Before leaving the developer in 2017, York worked on two of Rockstar's biggest and most celebrated titles: "Grand Theft Auto 5" and "Red Dead Redemption 2." In other words, he speaks from experience when it comes to the "GTA" franchise. In a chat with IGN, York explained that the current absence of "GTA 6" on PC may be boiled down to a simple matter of the developer going where the money is.

'PlayStation was the console to have'

First of all, York explained to IGN, PlayStation is king when it comes to Rockstar's release strategies. "The reason why a PC port comes later and not the first thing that comes out, is because they want to prioritize what sells. Most of the time, especially in the past, PlayStation was the big seller. PlayStation was the console to have. It sold more than any other console for the most part. Everybody's playing PlayStation." This is why "Grand Theft Auto 5" was released for home consoles first, then PC nearly two years later. Rockstar really got moving on building the PC port once the game had officially launched for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. 

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It's not just the availability and popularity of the PlayStation ecosystem that determines Rockstar's release strategy, however. There's also the fact that porting a game to PC presents far more challenges than bringing a title to PlayStation or Xbox. "Because on a PlayStation and an Xbox, each one of those has one graphics card, and it's the same graphics card, it's the same architecture inside the box as every single PlayStation that's shipped to millions of people," said York. "But when it comes to a PC, every single person has a different PC. They're running it differently. They have different hardware in there. They have different CPUs and GPUs." In other words, Rockstar's developers have to consider all kinds of different fail states and possible performance issues when developing a PC port, which leads to extensive bug testing.

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Resources may play a big role in pushing back GTA 6's PC port

York explained, "A lot of times people are so antsy for the PC port, they want it right now. It's hard to do that as a developer because the team isn't big enough ... if they had just one team working on the PC, one team working on the Xbox, and the whole time they'd be trying to optimize all three at the same time, but it just doesn't work that way." That's why Rockstar has found that it tends to be easier to finish and release the console version of a big game first, then move on to troubleshooting and fine-tuning the PC version. The console version of "GTA 6" is most likely going to be the biggest moneymaker in the long run, so the developer will make sure that it gets polished and sent to market as soon as possible.

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PC gamers are sure to be disappointed by this explanation, especially after waiting so long for the next "GTA" title. However, assuming that Rockstar still follows many of the same principles that it did when York was still with the company, this strategy makes a good bit of sense. Until Rockstar Games finally puts out a statement of its own regarding the lack of PC news, this may also be the best explanation we can get.

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